Colonial American Digressions
August 14, 2014 7:16 PM   Subscribe

A better book on colonial foodways is Food in Colonial and Federal America by Sandra Oliver who worked from original sources.
posted by Ideefixe at 7:27 PM on August 14, 2014

My mum makes her pie crusts with lard. It is the best.

I prefer to fry potatoes in duck fat.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:14 PM on August 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

The charcoal essay is fascinating. I recall reading about the subject in one of Eric Sloane's books, but his account was not in such detail.
posted by Tube at 8:57 PM on August 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

The meals may have been fattening, but like the farmers around where I grew up who ate a huge fried breakfast every day, I bet there weren't too many obese people because they burned it all off in manual labour.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 1:31 AM on August 15, 2014 [2 favorites]

There's something about the aesthetics of colonial America I love. British Antiques Roadshow is ok, but when you see one of the Keno Brothers on the American show standing by a chest of drawers or a hand-painted sea chest, you know it's going to be good.
posted by Brodiggitty at 2:20 AM on August 15, 2014 [2 favorites]

I wish they had better pictures of those buttons.
posted by psycho-alchemy at 2:27 AM on August 15, 2014

Colonial buttons...
posted by jim in austin at 3:52 AM on August 15, 2014

We actually just got back from Williamsburg/Jamestown on Wednesday night. I believe I gained 10 pounds eat colonial style food.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 4:44 AM on August 15, 2014

My mum makes her pie crusts with lard.

When I was a child, nearly everything baked or fried contained lard: pies, cookies (not just Oreos), pudding, potato chips, doughnuts, french fries . . . also many soups and fish recipes.

Once they started listing the ingredients on the label, for some reason more Americans were disgusted by reading "lard" and "sugar" than "partially hydrogenated vegetable oil" and "high-fructose corn syrup", so the latter team gradually replaced the former.

Based on the current American "obesity crisis™, lard in and of itself was evidently not the culprit.
posted by Herodios at 6:29 AM on August 15, 2014 [2 favorites]

Huh. A few of these struck me as familiar:

I wonder how far back my mother's side goes in this country! I'm familiar with I'd say 80% foodways as presented in that article. We baked our biscuits, though, and I was taught to cook and bake with lard, though I don't any more. When any food was fried in the ol' cast iron skillet, it was in lard and/or reserved bacon fat. And McDonald's went to 50% tallow/50% vegetable oil in 1985. I remember because that was the first summer I worked there, when this was instituted. Before that, it was in 100% beef tallow. I don't know what they cook them in today.

My grandpa used to complain about the cost of charcoal and I never asked him why; I was too little to think about it. Now I'm wondering if it's because his family of origin down South made their own on their farm.

And when I was 1st grade, in learning about the Pilgrims (1976!), my classmates and I made small simple tallow candles in class. It was fun! Probably wouldn't have been fun if that were my job, but hey, I was 6.
posted by droplet at 5:33 PM on August 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

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